Do Co-Owners of Property Have to Agree On Permitting Certain Guests Onto the Premises?

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My husband and I own our home and are both on the deed. My grown son (from former husband) wants to move in with us and my husband says no and I say yes. Can I have my son move in anyway? They have never gotten along well and it will be stressful for us all, but I think my son needs me at this time in his life. Thank you.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

I’m going to answer the question you didn’t ask first: SHOULD you have your son move in? I’m thinking no. But on to your actual question. In the abstract, you’re asking whether one co-owner can have a guest that the other co-owner objects to. The answer is that this is a legal grey area. Co-owners each have an “undivided” interest in the property, meaning that they can generally make use of the entire property as an owner would (up to and including having guests or tenants). However, the co-owner cannot “unreasonably” impact the other co-owner.

So how does that apply to your situation? Well, your husband could certainly argue that having his stepson in the house against his will is an unreasonable restriction on his ability to use it. He could then sue you for ouster, or even partition. Doesn’t sound pleasant. Or, he could grit his teeth and do nothing, because he doesn’t want to sue his wife. Also not pleasant.

Personally, I’d look for some sort of compromise. Can your son live in the apartment over the garage? Or (perhaps more realistically), can you get your husband to agree to him being there on a strictly time-limited basis? The options are many, and they all seem better than what I’ve described, above.



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Author: House Attorney